This on-going series of blog posts flows from EBG’s publication of its Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist for employers. The Checklist, along with this series, is aimed at guiding employers through DOL Wage and Hour Division Investigations.
We have previously blogged our way through How to Prepare for a Wage and Hour Inspection, What to Do When a Wage and Hour Investigation Team Arrives to Start Auditing, and What Records Must be Provided to the DOL. In this post, we discuss what to expect during the “walk around” inspection portion of the on-site inspection.
QUESTION: What is the purpose of the “walk around” inspection?
ANSWER: Quite simply, the Investigator is going to observe your employees performing their job duties and look for wage and hour violations.
QUESTION: What will the Investigator do during the “walk around?”
ANSWER: In addition to observing the normal operations of the facility and the employees performing their job duties, the Investigator will likely stop and talk with a number of your hourly employees as he/she encounters them on the walk through. The Investigator will also provide these employees with his/her business card and advise them that they can contact the DOL directly. While the manager cannot prohibit the Investigator from conducting a “walk around” or speaking with hourly employees, the manager can ensure that these activities are done in a manner that limits the disruption to normal business operations.
QUESTION: Do you have to allow the Investigator access to the facility unaccompanied?
ANSWER: No. A manager should escort the Investigator through the facility at ALL times, except when conducting an interview of a non-management employee.
QUESTION: What should the manager be doing during the “walk around?”
ANSWER: The “walk around” is a good opportunity for an employer to obtain information about the focus of the investigation. The manager should not be a passive passenger on the walk around. Rather, the manager should take detailed notes including tracking which employees the Investigator asks to interview, the subjects of the Investigator’s questions, and the subjects of the Investigator’s written notes. Essentially, the manager should note everything the Investigator says, does, and asks.
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Are you now wondering what your rights are during the employee interviews? If so, subscribe to this blog. As part of this on-going series, in a subsequent FAQ, we will discuss employee interviews including understanding the role of the investigator, your role in the interview process, and how to prepare both management and non-management employees for interview.
Be sure to check out our Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist for more helpful tips and advice about preparing for and managing a Wage Hour Inspection.